Sunday, October 07, 2007

5 tips for crossing the Atlantic

Over on the Yachting World web site Elaine Bunting has given 10 tips for crossing the Atlantic - probably as part of that magazine's build up for the ARC - the Atlantic Rally for Cruisers.

Well I've only done the ARC once and we were safely mid-pack rather than class winners, but here are some suggestions.

1. Parties

Make sure you go to the start and end parties. A lot of the fast boats arrive in St. Lucia and immediately push off somewhere else - I think that's a shame. At least hang around for the prize-giving bash. And turn up to Chay Blythe's speech even if you've heard it all before - the poor man has lost his company in the last year.

2. Bugs

We were told the boat would be crawling with cockroaches and other bugs if you don't wash everything by hand and not take even the cardboard boxes the fruit and veg were delivered in as there could be bug eggs ready to hatch hidden deep inside. So we washed everything, and were happily bug free. If nothing else it will enable you to gossip with your neighbouring boats as they do the same and get a chance to visit to have a nose around.

3. SSB

You probably have Iridium or some other satellite phone for your gribs and wonder about this old fashioned radio, but its worth it to listen in to the net and chat with friends. In particular we got a very good chocolate cake recipe from Happy Spirit for one crew's birthday.

4. Gloves

The one you thing you don't want to get is rope burn mid Atlantic so bring and use your sailing gloves. Yes I know its going to be hot but being unable to use your hands for a week will be a lot worse, especially for the poor sod who has to - er, how to put this - assist in the heads.

5. Practice

You can play it safe and pole out the genoa as Elaine suggests but you will get there quicker if you hoist the biggest spinnaker you've got and do it from day one (wind direction permitting). We didn't as we were a scratch crew learning the ropes and in hindsight this slowed us down.

More tips if I can think of them......

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